Waipahu Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Recovering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most challenging experiences a person can endure. Trauma to the spinal cord can cause partial or total paralysis, robbing victims of the health and mobility they once enjoyed.
An estimated 296,000 people in the United States currently live with a spinal cord injury. Nearly 18,000 new cases are reported each year, many of which leave victims with ongoing medical issues and lifelong disabilities. The cost to manage these needs is astounding.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NCISC), the estimated lifetime cost of an SCI can be as high as $2.8 million, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses needed every year for SCI-related treatments. That figure doesn’t account for the other substantial losses that come with a disabling injury, such as lost wages and benefits.
Did you sustain an SCI in an Oahu accident? A Waipahu spinal cord injury lawyer from Recovery Law Center can review your case and discuss your legal options in a free consultation. Call or contact us today to get started.
How Can a Spinal Cord Injury Impact Your Life?
The spinal cord is a nerve network protected by the bones of the spine (vertebrae). The cord carries messages from the brain to every part of the body, controlling movement and sensation. Any injury to the spine can have a drastic effect on your life.
The ultimate impact of a spinal cord injury will depend on the severity of the trauma and where it occurred. The higher the trauma, the worse the outcomes tend to be.
Less than one percent of SCI survivors recover fully from their injuries by the time they leave the hospital. And sadly, 30 percent of those people are re-hospitalized at least once in the year after their injury. In addition, many survivors rely on wheelchairs, ventilators, CPAP machines, transfer equipment, positioning devices, and round-the-clock home health care to meet their daily needs.
Most Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are several types of spinal cord injuries, all of which can result in serious and potentially fatal conditions. SCIs can cause other muscles and systems to shut down, both at the time of injury and even later in life.
The levels of spinal cord injuries include:
- Cervical spinal cord injury: Damage to the cervical (neck) can be deadly without immediate treatment. The cervical region controls the ability to breathe. Because the injury occurs so high in the spine, cervical SCIs also create the possibility for a massive loss of bodily function below the area of the injury.
- Thoracic spinal cord injury: The thoracic area of the spine controls the arms, chest, mid-back, and trunk of the body. Damage to the thoracic spine can cause paralysis in the legs and lower body. Upper-level thoracic SCIs may also cause problems regulating body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure ― all life-threatening complications.
- Lumbar spinal cord injury: The lower spinal region (or lumbar area) is composed of five vertebrae. A lumbar SCI impacts the legs and hips and may also cause loss of bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
The severity of a spinal cord injury also depends on whether doctors classify the injury as complete or incomplete:
- Complete SCI: The patient has no movement or sensation below the level of injury.
- Incomplete SCI: Some feeling or movement is possible below the injury site.
Spinal cord injury survivors may experience temporary or permanent paralysis due to their injuries.
- Paraplegia: Paralysis of the legs and lower body
- Tetraplegia: Paralysis of all four limbs, also known as quadriplegia
Recent NCISC data shows that 47 percent of SCIs result in incomplete tetraplegia. The percentages for complete paraplegia and incomplete tetraplegia were essentially the same, at 20 percent each. Complete tetraplegia is the least common SCI, comprising about 12 percent of all injuries.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The leading cause of spinal cord injuries is motor vehicle accidents. However, individuals sustain SCIs in a wide range of other accidents, including:
- Violence (particularly gunshots)
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Diving accidents
- Trampoline accidents
- Sports activities
- Birth injuries
Compensation may be possible ―and essential ― after such a catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal injury due to someone else’s negligence on Oahu, talk to a spinal cord injury lawyer in Waipahu right away.
What to Do After a Spinal Cord Injury
The time after a spinal cord injury is fraught with uncertainties. The shock of the trauma may cause an immediate loss of movement and feeling. Doctors can’t guarantee a full recovery or make predictions until the swelling in the damaged area goes down.
Once your condition stabilizes, it’s wise to consider taking legal action against the party responsible for your injury. You’re likely to need continual medical care and ongoing rehabilitation for years. Returning to work ― or the same level of work you did pre-injury ― may be impossible. And understandably, SCI survivors often experience depression and develop other mental health conditions as they learn to cope with their new lives.
You should have to pay the costs related to your SCI when another party is to blame. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney can review your case and discuss your legal options with you.